Researchers looking at how glassmaking can make steel production cleaner

Steel furnace

Engineering researchers have received almost £140,000 of funding to look at how processes used in glassmaking can be employed in steel production.

Dr Shee Meng Thai and Dr CK Tan of the Mechanical Engineering Research area have had a grant of £139,331, as part of total funding of £810,914 from Innovate UK, to investigate the feasibility of transferring a Low-Nitrogen-Oxides (NOx) combustion technology, known as Auxiliary Injection (AI), which was developed for glass-melting furnaces, to other industries, such as the steel sector.

It has previously been demonstrated, in both laboratories and commercially, that an AI combustion technology used in glass-melting furnaces has the potential to reduce NOx emissions and increase furnace efficiency.

The team from USW, which is supported by Global Combustion Systems, Glass Futures, Tata Steel, and Liberty Steel, will assess the performance of the AI technology for a range of new glass and steel furnace scenarios, and will use computer models to understand how to transfer the technology into steel applications, and quantify the potential benefits.

“For the glass and steel industries, it is important to create a cost-effective technology to reduce NOx emissions and increase furnace efficiency to meet regulatory requirements, for not just NOx emissions, but also CO2 emissions,” a USW spokesperson said.

“The AI combustion technology developed for glass-melting furnaces, which redistributes the fuel delivered into the furnace by injecting part of it into a zone of recirculating furnace gases, reduced NOx by up to 80% and increases furnace thermal efficiency by up to 3%.

“This technology could provide glass and steel manufacturers with a low-cost, reliable, retrofittable method for reducing NOx emissions on existing furnaces.

“This is a very exciting project which will allow USW, which is a co-owner of the IP of this AI combustion technology, to exploit the technology for other foundation industries.”